December 14, 1999
The Literacy Information and Communication System - LINCS -- is the National Institute for Literacy's effort to bring the newest information technology to the service of adult education and literacy. LINCS is an extensive collaboration of national, regional, and state public and private partners. It provides a comprehensive source of original, full-text information and learning content, a sophisticated search capacity for Internet-based literacy-related information and content, electronic discussion lists, and training and technical assistance in the use of technology. These services enable practitioners, learners, and others to easily find free, high quality, reliable, relevant, and up-to-date Web-based information and adult learning content; find and share ideas with colleagues or learners; and improve skills in using technology for adult, family and other literacy education purposes.
The highest priority end users for LINCS services are adult education practitioners: teachers, tutors, and administrators. Other priority users include adult learners, state level administrators and resource staff, state and national policymakers, researchers, and the press. Other users include: public policy advocates, NIFL Interagency partners, prospective learners, learners' families, NIFL and LINCS regional staff, other national organization staff, employers, and librarians.
A Five-Year Vision for LINCS
LINCS will be a widely known, widely used, and well-regarded information and communication service. It will continue to pursue NIFL's goals of building systems to improve the quality of services and developing sound public policy for literacy. LINCS will be a first-stop gateway to comprehensive, high quality adult, family, and other literacy education resources. It will be a catalyst for developing new, high quality resources to meet users' needs. LINCS will bridge the communication gap between different groups in the literacy community. A wide range of partners at the local, state, regional and national levels will contribute to the continuing development of LINCS.
Strategies for Achieving the Vision
Through its Web presence, electronic lists, and national, regional and local partners, LINCSwill:
- Keep abreast of new technological developments and implement state-of-the-art technology to help end users improve their access to up-to-date, useful, reliable, high-quality information.
- Maintain its existing network of partnerships and establish broad new state and national collaborations to leverage the resources necessary to achieve the vision.
- Expand the range of literacy stakeholders who invest in LINCS and share resources and expertise through a variety of communication tools.
- Promote the development and use of innovative multi-media web-based projects that involve the use of technology, especially in the areas of teaching, learning, and professional development.
- Provide state and local level training and technical assistance - both traditional and technology-enhanced - that enable practitioners to use Internet technology effectively.
- Research the information, communication, and learning resource needs of users, and then systematically collect and organize good content that meets these needs.
- Continue to develop and implement systems for quality control of resources and services on LINCS.
- Continue to develop standards to assure compatibility with other technology initiatives.
- Work with partners to market LINCS to end users through training and other tools.
Developed in December, 1993
In order to implement critical provisions of the National Literacy Act of 1991, the National Institute for Literacy proposes to develop a national literacy information and communication system that will contribute to the goals of maximizing the effectiveness of literacy services and enabling every adult to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
The Information and Communication System will be based on field research findings about literacy stakeholders' information needs; the NIFL Priorities for Action; the direction set forward by representatives of ED, DOL, HHS, and the NIFL's Advisory Board; and Administration priorities in the area of telecommunications -- the superhighway proposed by Vice President Gore. The System will build upon existing state, regional, and national networks and educational databases to provide the adult literacy community with interactive links to information resources from federal, state, and local public and private sources.
The NIFL Information & Communication System will enable:
- policymakers at federal, state, and local levels to get and share valid and reliable information for building sound policy and measuring progress toward achievement of the National Literacy Act's goals;
- teachers and tutors to gain access to and share effective teaching strategies, proven curricula, and materials from all across the country;
- local program directors to share curricula, staff development ideas, funding opportunities, and accountability systems and measures;
- adult learners to interact with one another, and to find out about programs and services that can help in removing barriers to learning;
- providers of staff development services to gain access to research results and alternative approaches to training models and curricula;
- resource center staff to share information and resources that help clients meet their needs;
- adult literacy researchers and evaluators to access data and research results, and to learn about new questions and hypotheses in the field;
- libraries; national, State, and local clearinghouses; public and private entities; and information referral networks to interact with the literacy community;
- business, industry, and labor to learn about workplace learning models, information about the extent and quality of workplace learning efforts, and opportunities for forming partnerships for workplace learning;
- All groups and individuals with adult literacy information to give or receive to take advantage of the System's resources and capabilities.
The NIFL Literacy Information & Communication System will be:
- INCLUSIVE: will serve all stakeholders in the adult literacy/basic education community
- ACCESSIBLE: low cost, user friendly for all user skill levels; multiple entry points
- SEAMLESS: system processes, including access to other remote resources, will have a unified "look" and "feel"
- INTERACTIVE: will have two-way communication, conference capability, and facilitate both retrieval and contribution of information
- DYNAMIC: will evolve with users' needs, keeping pace with technological advances
- COMPREHENSIVE: will include access to all existing literacy-related resources
- RESPONSIVE: will always provide a quality response from either electronic or human intermediaries
- GROWING: can be added to; will incorporate new information sources
- EFFICIENT: will enhance and streamline access to existing information sources without duplication or redundancy; will get the best information in the least number of calls.
The NIFL Literacy Information & Communication System will require:
- collaboration at all levels among federal, state, and local agencies;
- technical assistance, training, and support;
- funding for all levels of the System;
- federal interagency support; and
- sensitivity and responsiveness to the changing needs of the field.
The NIFL Information & Communication System will include:
- an evaluation and reporting system on implementation of the National Adult Literacy Act of 1991;
- a forum for dialogue about the results of basic and applied research and demonstration projects;
- a database of adult literacy and basic education programs, including workplace education and family literacy programs;
- a database of assessment tools and outcome measures;
- a forum for dialogue about findings regarding progress toward the National Education Goals, especially Goal 5;
- access to information on training and technical assistance for the full continuum of services pursued by adult learners;
- access to information on promising products and practices;
- interfaces with State Literacy Resource Centers, State Library Systems, ERIC, OCLC, OVAE/Dial-in, and other databases;
- information on points of contact and experts in topical areas; and
- Information and referral on programs and resources.